Po­lice tar­get loi­ter­ing yobs

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - 24 - By KIRSTEN BEACOCK

TACK­LING in­tim­i­dat­ing be­hav­iour of peo­ple hang­ing around Peter­bor­ough’s job cen­tre is now a top pri­or­ity for po­lice.

The en­trance to Jobcen­tre Plus, at the corner of Broad­way and Burgh­ley Square, is a ma­jor pedes­trian route into the city cen­tre for res­i­dents, shop­pers and com­muters.

But city cen­tre of­fi­cers have now joined forces with Jobcen­tre Plus af­ter res­i­dents com­plained they felt threat­ened by peo­ple hang­ing around when­ever they walked past.

Fol­low­ing a meet­ing of the City Cen­tre Neigh­bour­hood Po­lice Panel last week, it was made a top polic­ing pri­or­ity and now of­fi­cers have upped their pa­trols, telling peo­ple hang­ing around the build­ing who have no busi­ness there to wait else­where or move on.

Neigh­bour­hood po­lice sergeant for the city cen­tre Nikki Hall said of­fi­cers had scoured the CCTV im­ages while in­ves­ti­gat­ing the prob­lem.

They found the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple hang­ing around out­side had “no le­git­i­mate busi­ness” there be­cause they were ei­ther too young to claim ben­e­fits or were just wait­ing for peo­ple.

She said they were work­ing closely and pos­i­tively with job cen­tre staff and were start­ing to no­tice an im­pact.

Sgt Hall said: “We re­viewed the footage and went to speak to peo­ple who were just hang­ing round, caus­ing an ob­struc­tion and whose noisy be­hav­iour was prov­ing in­tim­i­dat­ing to res­i­dents and peo­ple ar­riv­ing to use the job cen­tre’s ser­vices.

“We knew the prob­lem wasn’t with the job cen­tre in terms of ap­point­ments or lack of room in­side as they have a very ef­fi­cient sys­tem in place and if ap­point­ments are missed, peo­ple are told to re­turn at 4pm.

“There is no good rea­son for some of these peo­ple to be there, so we moved them on and sug­gested they wait in the park op­po­site or in one of the many cafes on the road and ex­plained why they were caus­ing a nui­sance.”

A Depart­ment For Work and Pen­sions spokes­woman, rep­re­sent­ing Jobcen­tre Plus, con­firmed they had been work­ing in part­ner­ship with the po­lice.

She added: “At peak times, peo­ple col­lect­ing ben­e­fits some­times con­gre­gate out­side and steps have been taken to ad­dress this, in­clud­ing ar­rang­ing for some peo­ple to sign-on at Peter­bor­ough City Col­lege and en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to re­ceive pay­ments di­rect into their ac­counts.”

Ward councillor Nazim Khan said he fully sup­ported the joint in­tia­tive to com­bat anti-so­cial be­hav­iour.

He said: “Gangs and groups of peo­ple hang­ing around can be very in­tim­i­dat­ing, es­pe­cially to the el­derly and the vul­ner­a­ble, so I think they are do­ing the right thing by mak­ing sure peo­ple are moved on.”

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